Green suspended from crucial Game 5
GOLDEN State Warriors forward Draymond Green was issued a one-game suspension by the NBA on Sunday, sidelining him for today's potential title-clinching fifth game of the NBA Finals.
The defending champions Warriors, who seized a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with a 108-97 victory over Cleveland on Friday, vowed to win the crown at home for Green.
"It sucks now that he's not going to be on the floor," Warriors star guard Stephen Curry said.
"He gives us that fire and that attitude we need. We love that about him and now we have to go out and get a win for him."
Green struck Cavaliers star LeBron James in the groin with a flailing hand with 2min 48sec remaining in the fourth quarter on Friday after the two had tangled bodies and James stepped over Green as he was on the court.
"I felt like at that point in time, it was a little bit outside of basketball," James said of Green's foul.
Green, who was nearly done with Sunday's practice when told of the ban by Warriors coach Steve Kerr, had told NBA TV he felt insulted by James' step-over move.
"He stepped over me," Green said. "There's many routes you can take. Don't step over me like that... I don't care who you are. I'm not going to back down."
After NBA officials reviewed the incident, Green's foul was upgraded to a flagrant one, giving him a one-game ban for a fourth accumulated play-off flagrant foul that will be served today.
Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA executive vice-president of basketball operations, ruled Green made unnecessary contact with James with a retaliatory swipe of his hand to the groin.
"While Draymond Green's actions in game four do not merit a suspension as a stand-alone act, the number of flagrant points he has earned triggers a suspension," he said.
Green had already accumulated flagrant fouls in the first round and third play-off rounds, most notably a kick to the groin of Oklahoma City's Steven Adams in the Western Conference finals.